- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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SEATTLE -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots’ 24-23 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field:
What it means. The Patriots led for most of the game and had a chance to put the Seahawks away, but their inability to drop the hammer cost them the game. That is one area that has mostly eluded the team this year -- the ability to finish off an opponent. The Patriots left a lot of points on the field and kept the “12th Man” -- Seattle’s spirited crowd -- in the game throughout. The Patriots fall to 3-3.
Secondary in shambles. The Patriots were playing with rookies Nate Ebner and Tavon Wilson at safety at the end of the game, a result of injuries and a lack of depth. The Seahawks capitalized with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice off play-action, as he split the safeties. Overall, the secondary had a very tough day.
Not Brady’s best day. The Patriots decided that the passing game was the best way to attack the Seahawks, and while quarterback Tom Brady produced some solid numbers, this wasn’t a performance up to Brady’s high standard. He entered the game with just one interception on the season, but had two on the day. He also had an intentional grounding penalty on a throw through the back of the end zone at the end of the second quarter that cost the team a chance at three points.
Game management a downer. The Patriots' coaching staff didn't have its best day, either. Timeouts were burned, the sequence at the end of the second quarter cost the team three points and a third timeout, which could have been valuable on the final drive, was burned when the defense had 12 men on the field. Uncharacteristic of a Bill Belichick-coached team.
Welker’s toughness shines through. Receiver Wes Welker turned in another Welker-like performance. The stretch of plays that perhaps best defined his work came in the second quarter when he absorbed a crunching hit, missed three plays, then returned to the field and promptly caught a pass for a first down. The stats look impressive for Welker, but this was a game where the stats don’t even tell the story when it comes to Welker. So tough and so valuable to this offense. He was one of the bright spots.
Bolden, Chung & Slater are injury situations to monitor. Rookie running back Brandon Bolden left the game in the second quarter after hobbling off from covering a kickoff that went for a touchback. The Patriots announced that Bolden had a knee injury, and he didn’t return. In addition, safety Patrick Chung left for the locker room in the fourth quarter with team doctor Thomas Gill and appeared to be favoring his arm. The team announced that Chung had a shoulder injury. Finally, special-teams captain Matthew Slater limped off after covering a punt in the fourth quarter and didn't return. Receiver Brandon Lloyd was shaken up late but returned to the game.
What’s next. The Patriots return to Gillette Stadium on Sunday to entertain the Jets, who scored a big win over the Colts on Sunday. The Seahawks have a quick turnaround with a trip to San Francisco on Thursday night.